Himachal’s Newest Offbeat Secret : Thachi Valley

It must have been 2 years ago, in 2016 when I had first heard (or read) the word Thachi. I’d reached Balichowki on my way to Gushaini and was having paranthas at a small eatery when I saw a bus with Thachi written on it. I asked the dhaba uncle and he said the road to Thachi Valley bifurcates from Balichowki itself and that its a beautiful valley but there may be no homestays there. And the conversation was left midway when my bus to Gushaini and I all but forgot about Thachi Valley!

Thachi Valley
While hiking on a cold cold day in Thachi Valley we came across this beautiful cottage with a view!!

Read : Going Offbeat : Kutla in Parvati Valley

Fast forward to May 2018 and a mixture of sudden changes in weather coupled with me getting drenched in a downpour had resulted in a fever. Thachi village and Thachi Valley are not even in a remote corner of my mind. I was recuperating in a small village called Mateura Jari  in Parvati Valley and after feeling better sleeping off my fever had boarded a bus for Aut. At Aut bus stand (before Aut tunnel where the buses congregate), I noticed a signboard ‘Thachi’ written on a bus.

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I had conversed with Mr. Mukesh from Thachi Valley a long time ago and his number was saved on my phone. I called him up and asked about the existence of a homestay; he was gracious and kind to tell me to board the bus and that he will make the necessary arrangements for my stay, food and walks around the valley. He said that even though he wasn’t physically present there (Mukesh works in Delhi) but he belonged to Thachi Valley and a guy named Guddu will be there in case I needed any help. I happily boarded the bus and was sleepy eyed when it reached Balichowki.

Thachi Valley
Saw this beautiful wood and stone house under construction while hiking in the woods of Thachi Valley.

Life seemed to have come full circle when the bus stopped in Balichowki; my roving eyes tried to search for the dhaba uncle but Balichowki seemed to have grown from a tiny bus stop to a sizeable village on the road to Banjar – Jibhi & Jalori Pass ahead to Rampur Bushahr and I could find no trace of the dhaba whatsoever. Anyhow, the bus took the turn and a began a long ascent where the engine roared and groaned on the climb. I was totally unaware of the existence of road to Panjain and the fact that the road to Thachi Valley also had numerous other sub-valleys.

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After around 2 hours of getting in the bus at Aut, I had reached Thachi Valley and Guddu Guide had spoken to the bus driver to make sure I was dropped at the exact point from where the homestay was located. We walked through an apple orchard to reach the Thachi Valley Homestay. It was about to be 2 pm and in the feverish state of mind I was in, I had completely forgotten to eat breakfast and suddenly felt very hungry. All thanks to Guddu, he quickly ushered me to the dining space and I was pleased to eat in a nice wooden setting with ample fresh air for company.

Thachi Valley
View from the Homestay cottage in Thachi Valley.

Also read : Celebrating a Traditional Festival in a village in Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Lunch was freshly made for a group of backpackers who were already there and the cook made fresh chapatis and served the food to me. It was the simplicity of delicious home-cooked food that is most appealing when travel is a way of life for you. I relished 3-4 chapatis and ate to my heart’s content. Thachi Valley is at an altitude of around 2000m and it certainly felt very chilly when the breeze blew and the sun hid behind the clouds. I was reminded of my fever but was also certain in my mind that there was no need for a paracetamol.

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After I finished my lunch, Guddu asked me if I wanted to rest or if I didn’t mind accompanying the group on a hike to Pundir Rishi Temple that was located a short distance away from the homestay in Thachi Valley. We were dropped on a walking trail via a car and the light play beneath the deodhar and pine trees was enchanting. The aroma of the jungle was even more enhanced after the recent rains and we all walking with a song in our heart. Guddu Guide (like all locals) was much faster than all of us and disappeared ahead of us numerous times. And then we spotted it – The Pundrik Rishi Temple.

Thachi Valley
Sheep grazing in the green meadows : A photograph for the memory.

When I heard the name, at first I was startled – I had seen a lake and another temple by the same name Pundrik Rishi and mentioned the same to Guddu Guide. He grimaced and said that ‘I know where that place is’ and said that temple is Pundir Rishi Temple and that Pundrik Rishi and Pundir Rishi are brothers. The temple was set in a lovely green compound and had two small ponds nearby, one of which was an old water source. One of the ponds seemed like a small stepwell and was filled with green-looking water; perhaps because of the moss. There were a lot of fishes in the lake and Guddu Guide confirmed that since this is a sacred spot the locals don’t catch and eat the fish from here.

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A lot of ancient-looking stone statues were scattered across the green meadow where the temple was located. The temple itself was constructed out of wood and had intricate carvings. It was dedicated to the snake deity – ‘Nag devta’ and had carvings of snake just outside the main sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Since it was evening, the pandit or pujari was not there and the temple was officially closed. There was a canopy sort of structure on one side of the temple that had a beautifully painted roof in blue. It was a tranquil sight when a few sheep came ambling by and were happily grazing in the ample greenery around Pundrik Rishi Temple.

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A lady was also around the sheep (maybe the sheep were hers!) and with the slanting sunrise filtering through the deodhar trees, it felt quite surreal. It had only been a few hours in Thachi Valley and I was already hooked. There was so much to see in every corner of this wonderful state, Himachal Pradesh. Thats the magic of offbeat places, there are no tourists to be seen, no shopkeepers trying to sell them souvenirs. The magic of exploration lies exactly in places like Thachi Valley, where nature reigns supreme and the the only sounds that you hear are of nature itself – than the honking of horns! And also, you find any tourists from Delhi here!

Thachi Valley
Ancient statues carved in stone were scattered near the Pundir Rishi Temple also called Ropa by locals.

Since it was already around 5 pm, it was time for the other group to be dropped off to Aut to the Volvo bus stand. We said goodbye to them; walked toward the road, which turned out to be just a short downhill hike that passed a traditional Himachali water mill (gharat) on the way. Like most other parts of Himachal Pradesh, the gharat seemed to be abandoned. The arrival of modernisation in the form of roads and the flour mill at Bajaura have hastened the decline of the age-old traditional water chakki. I fondly remember my initial journeys and the sweet taste of the chapatis which were more refreshing as the flour had been ground with love and care in the gharat.

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After that, we drove back to the homestay at Thachi Valley through the Panjain route. The Forest Rest House at Panjain is located at a beautiful meadow-like hillock and commands a great view. It was late evening by the time we reached the FRH at Panjain and I could only marvel at the stunning flowers surrounding the lovely cottages. After walking around for a bit, we left from there as it had started drizzling.

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As we reached the homestay, I suddenly realised that I was quite tired because of the fever last night and was happy to have a simple dinner. Guddu was helpful in sending the food to the room itself as the temperature had fallen considerably and it had become quite cold due to the constant rainfall. There was nobody else in the entire cottage except a persistent dog that would come every now and then if I kept the door open. After struggling for a bit with the sudden cold, I quickly snuggled down in the blanket. Thunder and lightening was the order of the night and it kept raining continuously.

Thachi Valley
Hadimba Temple in Thachi Valley located on a hillock with epic landscape views.

I slept well in the cosy cottage and woke up late next morning. For a while, I thought I should have woken up earlier but when I opened the cottage door I realised it had been raining all the time and it was better that I ended up sleeping. The valley views from the cottage were great whenever the clouds parted. Guddu Guide made it a wonderful morning by bringing his special ginger lemon honey tea with breakfast. It had the right mixture of ingredients and provided much needed warmth and relief to my throat.

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After whiling away an hour or so, we ventured out when it stopped raining. The main village of Thachi was around 1 km from the Thachi Valley Homestay and we jumped our way across puddles and made it to the Bithu Narayan Temple compound. There was a big temple in the middle surrounded by small temples of different sizes on the sides. The landscape looked misty and green due to the continuous rain and there was no trace of sunshine; therefore it wasn’t a great day for photography but you have to make do with circumstances sometimes.

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Bithu Narayan Temple is the presiding deity of Thachi Valley and is revered in the entire region. It is an ancient temple, we marvelled at the beautiful architecture and wood carvings of the small temples; some of which were closed. The unforgettable thing here was the 11 headed stone statue of Lord Vishnu. It looked really old and could surely be counted as a treasure. I guess this is what the villagers meant by the temple being ancient, they might have referred to this statue as ancient. Anyhow, it was a wonderful setting for a temple with towering deodhars surrounding the small meadow.

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It had started drizzling again and while we debated whether or not we should continue our hike to a vantage point with a panoramic view of Thachi Valley, it was decided that we walk toward the Hadimba Devi temple located on a hillock. Depending on the circumstances and the situation of the rain, we could reconsider the next course of action. I was still in two minds whether or not to stay in Thachi Valley Homestay for today as there were other parts of the region near Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) to be explored.

Thachi Valley
The shade of green just after the rain is pleasing to the eyes… Thats Thachi valley for you.

Clouds floated in the valley below as we climbed higher and higher on our slippery walk. The grass shined green and the wind had more chill in the air even at noon. The sun was well and truly on a holiday in Thachi Valley and in the hot month of May, I shivered in my thin jacket. We crossed numerous apple orchards on our way; apple blossoms had given way to tiny fruits and a few dogs also joined in for company. As soon as we reached a shelter conveniently set up near Hadimba Temple, it began pouring again. I couldn’t help but feel it was lucky of us to not get drenched in the rain.

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After it stopped raining, I finally had a chance to appreciate the vantage viewpoint of the valley from Hadimba Temple meadow. By the time I decided to click a photograph, clouds had enveloped the entire surroundings and we could barely see 10 feet from our eyes! We were quite close to the huge BSNL tower of Thachi Valley which might perhaps be the highest point in the nearby area. Guddu Guide informed me that this Hadimba Temple in Thachi was related to the Hadimba Temple in Manali and that it was a very revered site locally. There were other statues also kept in the meadow where offerings were made by devotees.

Thachi Valley
The 11 headed Vishnu at Bithu Narayan Temple in Thachi Valley.

Guddu also mentioned about a lovely hike from Thachi to a region called Chanjwala and Saponi Dhar to reach a pristine waterfall and Gaun Beed. He also said that it was possible to go hiking from Thachi Valley to Janjehli in one day! I was quite surprised and amazed to know that and dreamed on hiking to Janjehli from Thachi Valley some day. As the rain abated and we slipped and somehow made our way back to the homestay, I understood that I’d need to come back to Thachi again to appreciate the full beauty of this offbeat valley in Himachal Pradesh.

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Interested folks can get in touch with me for trips to Thachi Valley!

How to Reach Thachi Valley from Delhi? 

A Volvo Bus to Aut where you might sometimes find a direct bus to Thachi Valley crossing through Balichowki.

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48 thoughts on “Himachal’s Newest Offbeat Secret : Thachi Valley”

  1. Hello Bhaiya, Your posts are always interesting to read and with your pictures and words you show us the beautiful landscapes. I follow you everywhere (no I don’t stalk you :D) I loved your pictures from Turkey 🙂 They made me feel like visiting Turkey. Well, your all posts do that 🙂 There’s a long weekend coming up in June and I was thinking where to go and you posted this. You know what I mean 🙂 I’ll get in touch with you for more details if you don’t mind. Thank you for showing us beautiful places and letting us now there are good people out! (I remember your post from Kashmir too) 🙂

  2. Debasree Chatterjee

    I like to visit Himachal in September. Description of Thachi village met my expection. A place with tranquility and bounty of nature. I believe stay there is not much extravagant. Will you please share the particulars of home stay?

  3. Really love this pictures! thanks for sharing this. I would like to visit this place next month. I am a traveler and staying at South Delhi luxury hotels, exploring historical monuments. Great post, i will add this destination to my list.

  4. Nice blog with beautiful pictures. Recently, I’m exploring Hyderabad such a beautiful city enriched with culture staying with one of the best hotels in Hyderabad from where all attractions are hardly 20-25 min. I love to travel and planning my next trip to Himachal and like to visit Thachi valley. Your blog gave me the opportunity to know Thachi valley closer than ever, will visit this beautiful place very soon.

  5. Raghav Vaidya

    Stop sharing these sacred locations. Bloggers like you are the major factor in exploitation of our land. Travel if you want to but don’t share locations. Sharing causes more people to swamp these offbeat locations. It’d be sad seeing these locations get exploited like Manali and shimla.

  6. I just visited Thachi for a few hours during my recent to visit to Seraj valley and I have the same photo as your first one of that beautiful cottage but I went a few days back and its looks completely different in winter setting. I couldn’t visit the Hadimba temple either as I had return back halfway through otherwise I would have missed my bus if I had continued. Amazing blog as always and you are really an inspiration as I started travelling solo after reading your blogs. Hope to return to Thachi soon and hope to meet you someday.

    1. shubhammansingka

      I am so glad to read this detailed experience Swapnil. Nice to know you have explored this remote, offbeat area 🙂

  7. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and beautiful pictures those can inspire to visit Himachal Pradesh one of the most wonderful hill station of India. I have visited Himachal Pradesh but after reading your article now I have planned to visit again with my partner.
    Thanks once again and keep sharing.

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  10. Pls don’t explain your experience in such details and with beautiful pic, I felt like rushing to this place right now.

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